For those who follow the critters personally, here is his story...though far from over, as this one little life form gives me much to contemplate as I enter my day...
With the warm weather and sudden drop came a change in little TG's health...I had noticed a couple of days ago that he had one eye turn gummy and he had a little cough. Having just come out of the flu myself, I wondered if we had something going around, but thought "well I got better...here's knowing little dude can get better!" Whatever it was, I took the proper precautions (I went for iron supplements first...you try to avoid antibiotics if you can help it as 1) he's very little and 2) they can build up an immunity rendering antibiotics null at such time that you really wished you had them. Since this was a male nobody would be eating, we do keep antibiotics on hand along with de-worming medications, which we do on a regular basis.
Though puny, he was not showing signs of worminess, though I could tell from his gums he was slightly anemic; we spaced and paced what we gave him, after all he's a little dude...Mostly we watched to see if his mother was still feeding him. At this age most are weaned, but will still try to nurse their mothers if allowed. His mama (Triscuit) wasn't the best of mamas starting out, but grew into the role (She's younger...smaller than most; a twin born to Cupid). Tough Guy was more independent than most...something I credited to my bringing him inside when first born owing to a mother slower than usual to respond to him. He loved being held by people as friends will attest.
In short, I suspect all the cute antics, like trying to nurse Rosebud (the dog)...trying to nurse TJ (the boy dog) ...loving to take a bottle, etc. were signs he wasn't getting enough food. As I mentioned, he was a bit more independent than some of the other babies. He would come running like a puppy when he'd see people, which he clearly equated with affection and attention. His was a short life, but it made an impact.
When I went out to feed the babies yesterday I discovered I was one baby shy...(Even when you have 21, you sense --even before you count-- when someone is missing.) I heard a faint cry back at the barn, which gave me hope. When I went racing to see, he was down (literally...on the ground) ...could've fallen...could've been knocked over by the larger goats running for food. (It's an odd thing, but once a goat goes down, if not spotted instantly, it can be their demise. I learned first time I had a mother undergo an emergency surgery to "Get her up!" and "Keep her walking!" It seemed a cruel thing to do to a mama that had lost a lot of blood, but the one time I allowed one to rest after a rough birth I lived to regret it. Once their legs go weak, it's nearly impossible to get them functioning again. TG's little legs had gone wobbly. I could rock him, but he wasn't able to stand from the time I found him yesterday.
The good news (which seems a stretch, but I stretch in times like these) is that the little guy was loved right down to the end and keenly aware of it. It was damp and drizzly yesterday, so I toweled off the big guys (the dogs, that is...at least the ones he was fondest of--namely Rosebud, Roz and Hix), and brought them inside to be with him. (I had to eventually put Hix out as he got very upset and did not want to let the rest of us near. He has this tendency when he spots a problem with one of his charge. He can get downright vicious if he thinks something's wrong and goes into protect (and sometimes attack) mode, which can get you bitten if you're not careful.) So Hix, we had to put outside for a spell, but Rosebud was great to allow the baby to hear her heartbeat while I was off getting meds and milk ...a bottle the baby took for a little while...And then he didn't.
Around 8:45 last night, little TG took his last breath..Held closely and with Facebook prayers being read to him, he was surrounded by love and appeared to be in no pain...He simply had no strength.
You can never say for sure why these things happen. There was a cold for sure, and it could've been pneumonia. Oddly enough, having just recovered from the flu myself, I'll wonder, but probably won't go to the expense of an autopsy (as now they charge, where used to they didn't). Based on his symptoms, if it wasn't pneumonia it was heading there. (My own cold turn to bronchitis...and was heading the same...I have no idea where I picked it up, nor do I know if goat colds can spread to humans and vice versa, but I can honestly say I have never had the flu (knock wood) --until last week, and for my first encounter, it was brutal. If one of us transmitted a cold to the other all I can say is I probably won't quit loving on my goats anytime soon, though I will do a bit more research on the subject.
My thanks to you all for your thoughts and prayers.
Amazing the effect one innocent little life can have on a heart... a bunch of hearts.
All to say, we felt your love...and it gave us much comfort. For this, we are truly grateful.